The Violets are Mine
Author: Lester Morris
Children often suffer at the hands of adults some more than others. Placed in an orphanage at an early age, author Lester Morris learned first hand the cruelty and inhumane treatment inflicted on so many unwanted children placed in the hands of those running these orphanages. Imagine a young child, Lester just wanting the sun to come. Standing by a window and waiting for the first ray of sunshine to come out. All he wanted to do was go outside and ride his green bike. The excitement he felt when he saw that the rain had finally stopped and the sun was coming out was definitely lost upon the assistant matron whose permission he needed to ride it. But, like most kids curiosity got the better of him and leaving the orphanage, going out of the gate and riding in town would reap Lester more than one punishment. With the aide of a kind policeman he is returned to the orphanage to receive more than just the wrath of the matron but the master whose punishment makes you wonder why anyone would leave a child in the care of these people. Witnessing the beating the police officer stood by helpless while they caned poor Lester. The Violets Are Mine is a true story told by the author himself. Lester Morris shares his own voice in this memoir.
Born in 1940 and sent to St. Agatha’s Nursery at only year old, Lester learned at an early age how to fend for himself and realities of the coldness of humanity. The time period was right before the Second World War the conditions in these places less than deplorable. Lester spent many years in many different homes. Some are still standing and others no longer there. But, the end result would be the same for all of those poor unwanted children.
On October 27, 1943 Lester was sent to another home. Imagine being tossed around at only three years of age. The excitement of receiving a teddy bear, although threadbare, was amazing because it was something that was his and his alone. Children were smacked around and treated like torn paper tissue. Food was scarce and many often went to bed hungry. Learning more about the homes Lester relates meeting his older brother Doug and a special woman that he will never forget, Mrs. Woodley. With blackouts the norm and planes flying overhead many of the children sought refuge with this kind lady. But, when sleep eluded him because of the noise of the planes what he found was the back of the assistant matron’s hand when he dared to leave his bed. The abuse these youngsters endured went unnoticed and their cries on deaf ears. As you listen and hear the words of this author his sense of right and wrong, fair play and his kindness and understanding for others shines through. But, even more his sense of humor and wit definitely help him to endure what no child should but some still do today.
Sharing his time with one woman named Miss Lorrie, the kindnesses she afforded him and the way she treated him as a special child was heartwarming in one sense and heartbreaking in another when he had to return to the cruelty of the orphanage. Learning more about the green bike and his escapades. Each classroom filled with teachers who showed little feelings for the students and a strong ruler or iron hand to reinforce their authority. You begin to wonder whether each Master took great pleasure in beating not only Lester but others too. Then, the bottom falls out of his life after Christmas and meeting Santa Claus. Lester forms a special bond with him and then the home sends him along with his brother into foster care where the two people that are supposed to care for him make the Master and his staff seem like kind people with hearts compared to Mr. and Mrs. Green. The beatings got worse and the Society finally steps in and moves him to another orphanage. This time he was taken to another home and the master was even worse then his foster parents. Would the abuse ever end? Throughout the memoir you can hear his voice, feel the pain inflicted on him and the sadness at being called an Unwanted Creature. The indignities, the abuse, the sexual remarks and touches are all part of what he went through before becoming a teen. One man he referred to, as Uncle when placed in his home would change everything for him.
Joining the Junior Leaders and wanting to be in the army he learned a lot about friendship and loyalty. But, when his commanding officer told him his father wanted him to come and live with him he made the mistake of saying yes and leaving his career in the army. What you will learn next about his father will definitely surprise the reader as this man only wanted Les home for one reason and not to be a parent. Deadpan Dad who did not work and spent his time in bars and expected Les to pay off his debts. One young man who got a job with the railway and really soared and finally found his own way and never gave up on life or himself. With the heart of gold, the kindness of others and some really great friends Les managed to survive more than any young man would. Lester Morris is truly an inspiration to everyone. With his sense of humor, his great heart and the perseverance to reach great heights on his own, this man did more than survive. Sharing his thoughts, his experiences, his triumphs, joys and defeats Lester Morris brings to light many important issues that we still need addressed today. Child abuse is not something that is indicative to just Orphanages and children placed in foster care. Many teachers and schools believed in corporal punishment and some still do today. Parents and family members as we learn often dish out the smacks, the hits and the beatings too. No one should endure what he did and hopefully if enough people read this book maybe someone will actually do something about all the children today that are placed in these institutions and realize that they are special and need extra hugs and love instead of feeling that they are really alone.
Working for the railroad brought out the best in Lester. His boss, Mr. Hogg had great respect for him. But, the places where he lodged and the people he met were unfeeling, cruel and many times left him out in the cold. Not allowing the world to get him down and feel sorry for him, Lester would find a solution to each difficult situation and a silver lining too. As the memoir draws to a close we learn more about Lester’s adult life, his time in the army, his struggle with deciding his future and a cute story about how he got rid of his warts that you will have to read for yourself. Where does he wind up and what finally happens to Lester? The ending quite revealing and heartwarming and where the author is now you will learn when you read this outstanding memoir of one man who is truly remarkable. Never giving up on life and still going strong, Lester Morris: writing is definitely one of your strengths and let’s hope you continue to share your stories and much more with readers.
Lester: As Mrs. Woodley: The Violets are yours and you can present them to anyone you want.
Let’s give this book: FIVE BOUQUETS OF VIOLETS TO PRESENT TO ANYONE LESTER FINDS SPECIAL
Fran Lewis: reviewer
We dedicate this review to the children in foster care and orphanages today and hope they never endure what Lester did. To the memory of his Fairy Godmother, Mrs. Woodley and her kind spirit.